Afghan probe says five civilians killed in NATO raid

Afghan probe says five civilians killed in NATO raid Kabul: A probe by Afghan officials has concluded that five people killed by NATO-led troops in a raid in northern Afghanistan this week were civilians, President Hamid Karzai's office said.

The deaths came during a raid in Sari Pul province in northern Afghanistan on Monday.

The local provincial governor said at the time that those killed were civilians, but the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said they were insurgents. Karzai then ordered an investigation by provincial officials.

A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force said it could not immediately comment on the findings.

"The findings of this delegation, which is based on meetings with villagers and statements by eyewitness says that five civilians were killed," a statement from Karzai's office said.

"The president of Afghanistan... strongly condemns the killing of civilians in this operation and emphasises once again that killing civilians will not help the fight against terrorism but will hinder it."

The issue of civilian casualties in international military operations is highly sensitive in Afghanistan, exacerbating tensions between the Afghan government and its Western supporters.

There are around 130,000 foreign troops, two-thirds of them American, deployed in Afghanistan to help Kabul fight the Taliban and other insurgents.